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College Football Pick
If either of these schools wants to make it to the Rose Bowl, they have to win this game. Each team is 5-1 in Pac 12 play and one game behind Oregon in the North division. Oregon's final two games of the season are against Oregon State and Stanford. So whoever wins this game has hope. The Cardinal has not lost at home this year with wins against USC and Arizona headlining that list. Oregon State's only loss of the season came on the road at Washington two week ago.
Stanford opened as 5.5-point favorites at betonline and rose to as high as -6.5, but that number has been brought down in most places to around 4.5 as a result of the QB change Stanford has made, going with Freshman Kevin Hogan. Almost all of the Pac 12 results for each school are nearly identical which is why people are bringing the line down. The main difference is that Stanford took out USC at home which could be one of the reasons they opened higher. The Cardinal has had Oregon State's number the past couple of years, outscoring the Beavers 76-13.
Without a dominant passing game, defenses are starting to focus more on Stanford's rushing game and it's worked. Stepfan Taylor is still having a good season, but he's averaging almost one yard per carry less than in 2011. He has 947 yards and eight TDs so far. Nevertheless, in his last two games against the worst teams in the Pac 12, Taylor has only been able to gain 101 yards on 31 carries. The Beavers have been very good at stopping the run as seen in early season wins over Wisconsin and UCLA. If Taylor can't run the ball, it could spell trouble for Stanford unless Nunes does something special.
Offensively, Oregon State will be led by Cody Vaz. He's currently undefeated as the starting QB at 3-0. Their loss at Washington came on the arm of Week 1 starter, Sean Mannion who tossed four interceptions. Vaz has played well, throwing seven TDs compared to only one interception. While he only completed 14-of-33 passes against Arizona State last weekend, he was still able to get three TDs and lead the team to victory. Wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton continue to be a handful for opposing defenses down the field. The two have combined for 104 grabs, 1,693 yards and 12 touchdowns. Their running game is nothing special, but looked better last week led by Terron Ward who started his first game of the year. He totaled 146 yards and one TD on 19 carries. Storm Woods missed that game because of a knee injury, but will be back for this contest which leaves the team with a dual-threat out of the backfield. Stanford will need another big defensive performance to win this game. More in line with the 14 points allowed to USC, not the 48 given up to Arizona.
The Beavers are 6-0-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 18-7-1 in their last 26 road games. The Cardinal are 10-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 22-10 ATS in their last 32 home games. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five contests between these schools. Most of the numbers point to the under in this one. It has hit nine times in their last 11 meetings and is 4-1 in the last five games in Stanford.
Our model has this as a 3 point game in favor of Stanford. When you take into account the QB change for Stanford, we feel that adds to our models position. If we run our model with only stats from the last 5 games, the model predicts a 1 point game, 19-18 in favor of Stanford. So, we anticipate a game where points are at a premium, making the +4.5 attractive here. Oregon State +4.5
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